“Only those who risk going too far will ever know how far they can go.”
- T.S. Eliot
My hands are shaking uncontrollably. My breath is shallow and I’m pouring sweat like I just ran 16 miles in the middle of summer. Right jab, left jab, front kick. Right, left, kick. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. REPEAT. Finally – mercifully – Ivo says it’s time for a break. I shuffle over and grab a quick drink before we have to start back up again. “Ok, let’s go!” he says. I haven’t even caught my breath yet. What am I doing?
Last fall, I decided to try a class in a martial art called “Krav Maga” (pronounced krahv mah-gah). It’s a self-defense system used by the Israeli military, special forces, and police around the world. It is less about set movements or sequences and more about aggression and being able to walk away from whatever comes your way.
And is it one intense work out. For you calorie counters, the instructor today mentioned that a session of Krav burns about 800 calories! Being a marathon runner, I’m used to the slow burn of running for several hours at a time. Not quick, intense bursts, repeated over and over again. I was an exhausted, shaky, sweaty heap by the end of that first session. And I was hooked.
When I started my new job, I sort of fell away from it for a bit. There was a gym that was on my way to work at my previous place of employment and when I moved jobs and neighborhoods, I let it fall off. But recently, I saw that there was a gym offering it only a few block away from my apartment. And the best instructor from the old gym was teaching there! So after a few weeks of “trying to find the right time”, I decided to check it out.
I was very happy with what I found. The class was the same as I remember (read – it kicked my butt) and I learned that the instructor and a business partner had started their own business to offer the classes. I’m always up for supporting the little guys, especially when they have a great product and are great people (no, this is not a paid ad for them, I just really like ‘em).
As I sit here on the couch, sore already, I realize getting back into this was a great choice for a few reasons -
1) It got me out of the office at 5p. I’ve generally been staying much later. Sure, I’ll put a little more time in before I go to bed, but it will be from the comfort of my apartment.
2) I needed something to push me again. After running the marathon in Buenos Aries, I’ve kinda just sat around and stuffed my face. I’m not really the kind of guy that likes to hit the gym just to throw weights around. This will get me motivated and back in shape before resuming marathon training in the spring.
And, to be honest, my secret goal for taking Krav is that when I travel the world, I’ll be much more prepared if I find myself in a bad situation. To this point in my life, I’ve been much more of a lover than a fighter. “Get home safe” is the motto and I intend to, wherever home is that evening.
I’m excited to rekindle this passion and whip myself back into shape. And to answer the question I posed at the beginning, I’m doing it because of the way it makes me feel when I’m done. Exhausted, sure. Sweaty and gross, definitely. But also like I can conquer anything. That I’m strong and I’m actively making myself stronger.
I hope that you have something in your life that makes you feel the same way. If not, experiment. Try new things that you think you might like. Heck, try something you think you’ll hate. Before 2010, I always said the only reason I would run was if someone was chasing me with a gun. And I just completed my third marathon on a third continent in October. I’m out to see how far I can go.
How about you? Do you have a lost passion that you’d love to try again? What’s stopping you?
And if you’d like to learn more about Krav Maga or find a facility near you, here’s a good site.
Make it a great week all!!!
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